Blumenthal calls for overturning rule slashing disability benefits

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on the Department of Health and Human Services to roll back a Trump-era rule that cut more than 6,000 disabled Connecticut residents from Medicaid benefits this year.

“It may seem like an obscure and difficult legal question, but in terms of humanity it’s quite simple: do the right thing.” said Senator Blumenthal on the South Lawn of the Capitol Building Thursday morning. “The President of the United States can undo the harm Donald Trump has done to people with disabilities with the stroke of a pen.”

Two Connecticut women with disabilities have sued the Department of Health and Human Services for cutting their Medicaid benefits based on a rule issued in the final hours of the Trump administration.

Last week, the court case escalated. Disability Rights CT’s legal team is seeking class action status so they can represent people across the country who have been cut off from Medicaid.

“This is a national issue,” said Sheldon Toubman, the lawsuit’s lead attorney. He said he’s heard from people with disabilities in Nebraska and Delaware saying they lost their benefits because of the rule change. “We applied for certification of a national class for everyone who was affected by the same Trump rule. We estimate several hundred thousand people.

Their attorneys say the rule change violated the Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, which required people to remain on Medicaid rosters during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

A hearing is scheduled for later in the month where a judge will decide whether to stop applying the Trump-era rule.

Blumenthal said he hopes the Department of Health and Human Services will render the whole issue moot by throwing it out entirely. He asked them to respond to him by September 9.

“They might say, you’re right. Trump screwed it all up,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “They might just say, okay, we’ll restore your benefits.”

About Antoine L. Cassell

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